Right in the middle of the series some pretty major things happened in my life, things that could have left me drained, confused, and overwhelmed. But instead I feel energized and excited. Why is that?
I believe it's because I've recognized that the men and women of faith we've been studying, Abraham, Moses, Rahab, Peter, etc., were all invited into the establishment of God's kingdom. Their success was based solely on the power and devotion of God to accomplish his plan. And I believe that is true in my life as well.
I believe God has called me to be a part of the establishment of his kingdom in my corner of Alabama and in Serbia. He's called all of us who follow him to seek and extend his mercy and live in his reign wherever we are. Being present in God's kingdom, and drawing others in, is what it's all about.
That life doesn't come without opposition and hardship, but it also doesn't come without power. Were Rahab and Gideon, Abraham and Joseph exceptional in and of themselves, were they something all together different than we are? I don't think so, but they did have exceptional faith, faith God honored. The hardships they overcame and victories accomplished were all through God's power.
When we step out in faith to express mercy, to live holy lives set apart to God's glory, to live in a way that joins in the spread of God's kingdom, there is power to obey. God is already working to advance his reign and his glory, the display of his mercy to all mankind, it's our responsibility to ask him where and join him.
When I got back from Serbia my sister asked me a question I've been thinking about for a while. She wanted to know if the workers at the institution, and I imagine even myself, questioned where God was in a place like that, in the midst of the suffering.
I didn't encounter anyone at the institution who identified themselves as a follower of Jesus. But I saw God's presence in a way I didn't expect. I saw his image in people. Men and women who knew to be compassionate and merciful to those in need were bearing him in their DNA.
And I saw in the suffering a hope to hang on to life even in difficult circumstances and limited capacity. God was there.
I believe more now than ever before that even though many of these people live rejected by society and on the fringe of life that God desires to establish his kingdom there. A refuge of his mercy in the storm of this life. I also believe he has graciously drawn me into that plan, he's already doing it, it's his work but he's invited me to join in.
Where is God working around you? Where can you see God stretching out his kingdom, offering people mercy? Are you joining in? There will be struggle in the journey but there will also be power, because it's all for his glory.
"And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." Hebrews 11:6